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Nadal beats Tsitsipas to win 12th Barcelona title

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Rafael Nadal saved a championship point to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 7-5 on Sunday and claim a 12th Barcelona Open title in the ATP’s longest match of 2021.

The Spaniard secured his first title of the year and 87th of his career, denying Tsitsipas back-to-back triumphs following his maiden Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo last week.

Nadal avenged his Australian Open quarter-final loss to Tsitsipas and will return to second in the ATP rankings on Monday by climbing back above Daniil Medvedev after his marathon 3-hour 38-minute win.

“It means a lot for me to play the final here and win,” said Nadal. “I improved my level during the week and this trophy means a lot.”

Nadal redeemed himself after a surprise quarter-final exit in Monte Carlo, but the three sets dropped en route to the title represented the most in any of his wins here.

“It’s an everyday job, accepting the challenge, staying humble when sometimes you don’t play as well and you have to fight to find solutions every day.”

No man has won more matches this year than Tsitsipas (26) but the 22-year-old has lost all seven finals at the ATP 500 level.

“Rafa, bravo. How many is that, 28? 28 Barcelona titles is not bad,” joked Tsitsipas.

“I’m really jealous. But you’ve earned it. You’re one of the biggest competitors in our sport, I’m sure you know that.”

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Second seed Tsitsipas, a Roland Garros semi-finalist in 2020, had won all 17 sets on clay this season and entered the final unbeaten on the surface in nine matches.

The Greek built up a 4-2 lead in the opening set after breaking Nadal in the third game but dropped his serve twice in succession as the 20-time Grand Slam champion hit back to win four games in a row.

Fifth-ranked Tsitsipas, who won just three games when the pair met in the 2018 final, again procured an early break in set two but Nadal responded to haul himself level at 3-all.

Nadal failed to convert two match points as Tsitsipas clung on to hold when trailing 5-4, with the Spaniard saving three break points in the very next game.

Nadal took a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak but the momentum swung back towards Tsitsipas as he won four straight points, blowing two set points before forcing a decider at the third attempt after a double fault from his opponent.

In sharp contrast, the third set went on serve without a single break opportunity until Tsitsipas edged to within a point of the title with Nadal on the ropes serving at 4-5.

Nadal survived though and finally converted his fourth break chance in the following game, snuffing out a Tsitsipas break point in the final game before clinching his 61st clay-court title.

His 12 Barcelona victories are second only to his 13 Roland Garros trophies.

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Education

SS2 girl missing in Abuja school after permission to fix uniform

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A15-year-old student of the Ceder International College, Abuja, Nimota Olatunde, has gone missing while trying to repair her torn school uniform.

It was gathered that the disappearance of the student had caused panic among her family members and friends.

Olatunde’s mother, Juliana Olajide, who lives in Jos, said on Thursday that her daughter had not been seen since the past one week after she took permission to fix her torn skirt by the school gate.

She said, “It is now eight days since we last saw my 15-year-old daughter, Nimota Olatunde, who is in SS 2 class at Ceder International College, Abuja.

“She was last seen in her school on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

“According to the school authorities, she went to sew her torn school skirt just by the school gate.

“According to them, she was permitted to go through the primary section gate instead of the main entrance gate because of the way the skirt was torn.

“Since then, no one has seen her. The school tailor also said that my daughter was not seen at the shop that day.

“So, we don’t know what has happened to her.”

Read Also: Prolonged cough could lead to tuberculosis, says expert

The school principal, Olukotun Segun, said the case was already being investigated by the police.

In another development, 13-year-old Treasure Ofunya, who went missing on April 28 while returning from her school, New Era Model School, Jakpa, Effurun, Delta State, has been found.

“I got a call this morning from the Oghara Divisional Police Officer that Treasure was with them.

“I quickly rushed to Oghara, which is near Sapele, and brought her back to Ekpan Police Divisional Headquarters for official documentation,” an elated member of the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent.

The victim’s elder brother, Merville, also confirmed the development.

The Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State, DSP Bright Edafe, said the victim had been reunited with her family.

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Entertainment

Davido gifts daughter Imade SUV as birthday present

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Popstar, Davido, will surely make his first child a happy one on her birthday later this month as he has bought her an early birthday gift.

The Fem singer took to his social media accounts to reveal the lovely gift he bought for his princess.

On his Instagram page, Davido shared two slides. In the first, the excited Imade was in a video ‘testing her new ride’ with her friends. In the next slide, the singer shared a picture of the sport utility vehicle – a Range Rover Evoque.

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In the caption section, the singer wrote, “Happy early birthday @realimadeadeleke daddy loves u !! Enjoy ur MOTO.”

However, his friends and fans on the social media platform have applauded his gesture and wished his princess a happy birthday.

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El-Rufai receives 27 freed Kaduna college students, two missing

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Twenty-seven abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have been released by bandits.

The Chairman of The Forum of the Abducted Parents,  Malam Abdullahi Usman confirmed it to on the telephone on Wednesday.

The elated chairman said, “Yes, they have been released after 50 days.”

On March 11, 2021 bandits invaded the school located in Afaka along the Kaduna International Airport road and abducted 39 students.

The bandits demanded N500m as ransom for their release, but 10 of the 39 students had been released in two batches of five each.

It was learnt that the release was facilitated by the Sheikh Abubakar Gumi dialogue committee with support from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, a source told our correspondent that on the day the students were abducted, two out of the 39 escaped.

He added that in order not to put the lives of the remaining abducted students in danger, it was decided that nothing should be said about the two students that escaped.

Earlier, the forum had refuted  a claim  by one of them that they met with the Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who directed them to a Fulani man, Ahmad, whom they paid N800,000 to.

A parent, who spoke in an interview with Root TV, had said they paid N800,000 to the said Ahmad.

However on Wednesday, the forum dismissed the claim, saying nobody was paid any money.

In a statement titled, ‘Re: Afaka 39: Kidnapped student’s mother exposes Sheikh Gumi, reveals his role in banditry.’ signed by Usman and the Secretary, Mrs Catherine Saleh, the forum said, “The woman is not a member of the committee representing the affected parents and did not speak on behalf of the parents.

Also Read: Govt approach wrong, ransom payment won’t end kidnapping – Obasanjo

“For the record, the committee representing the parents of the 39 abducted students visited Sheikh Gumi to seek his intervention for the release of our children, but he declined on the grounds that he would not want to go against the position of the state government which has forbidden anyone to negotiate with bandits.

“We apologise to the esteemed Sheikh for any personal injury the statement might have caused him.”

Kaduna hails release

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said the state rejoiced with the freed students.

Aruwan said, “The Kaduna State Police Command has reported to the Kaduna State Government, the release of the remaining students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation.

“The government rejoices with the freed students, their families and the management of the institution over this development.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai charged them to view their ordeal as a motivator to put the past behind and work hard towards a happier and successful future ahead.”

The students  were seen at the state police command with the Commissioner of police, Umar Muri.

The students looked weak and in their night wears. They were later taken to an undisclosed hospital for medical evaluation.

Buhari welcomes release of Afaka students

Also, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday welcomed the release of the students.

He also congratulated their friends, families and the government and people of Kaduna State on the development.

A statement by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted the President as saying. “We are happy they have been released.

“We express our deep appreciation to all the actors who contributed one way or the other to this happy outcome, in particular the defence and security agencies, the officials of the Ministry of Environment and the government of Kaduna State. We thank Nigerians for their prayers.”

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